Aug/Sept 2004

1st September 2004

New Integrated Community Development Village projects

DORS started an integrated rural development project in Daying Village, Pianma Township in Hanyuan County in August 2004. Project work has progressed in Maping Village of Huangmu Township, Hanyuan County (see DORS Newsletter No. 62), where another integrated rural development project will be carried out over the next two years.

Daying Village

After visiting Daying Village, Pianma township, DORS decided to follow up with a baseline study and has now decided to work in the village.

Daying Village has a population of over 800. During the baseline study and follow up visits, DORS staff visited and talked with more than 40 households about their views on the limitations and possibilities for development in the village. The nine hamlets of this village are scattered over three hills and populated by Yi and Han ethnic groups. It takes more than one days hiking to visit all hamlets in the village. As the village is spread over a large area, the height above sea level for different hamlets varies from 900 metres to 1600 metres. Thus various hamlets face various problems. The majority of hamlets however face similar problems with road access, water shortage and inadequate land. DORS is focusing on those hamlets facing greatest difficulties, particularly hamlets 1, 2 and 6.

Education

Education access is a problem for the children of the poorest households. As the new school year begins in early September, DORS decided to start with an education component to make sure that these children do not miss another year of schooling. As school access and retention was found to be a particular problem in hamlet 2 where most children were out of school, education support focused on this hamlet and also included children from families in particularly difficult circumstances in other hamlets.

After carrying out household interviews with families with school aged children, DORS agreed to support 28 primary school students and 20 Yi pre school students. Daying villagers and teachers requested that DORS support pre-school aged children and those of school age who have not yet commenced school. It was found that many Yi families face great economic pressures and most parents have little or no schooling. Subsequently many children remain out of school and have little or no Mandarin language skills when they do attend school. The 28 pre-school students will study basic Mandarin language and literacy for a year before continuing with their schooling.

Drinking water construction project

The whole village is affected by a lack of water, Hamlets 2 and 5 are the two hamlets most severely affected. During the dry season, many households have to walk for an hour to collect water from water points either uphill or downhill from their home, carrying the water in thin plastic bags. Most families do not have mules to carry the water for them, an even 70 year old people go up or down the valley to get water. The paths in the village are narrow, steep and slippery. Very often people slip and fall down on these muddy paths spilling the water they have carefully collected.

The villagers were very interested in implementing a water project which would supply the whole village with tap water in their courtyards. DORS contacted an engineer from the Hanyuan Water Conservancy Bureau to assess the current water supply situation and advise on a water supply project plan. In coming months DORS and Daying villagers will work together to decide on a suitable place of action.

Forestry

After conducting a baseline study in July 2004, plans for a forestry project were designed with villagers. The plan included the construction of small-sized water storage tanks for irrigation purposes. Tank construction commenced in September 2004. The forestry project will provide participants with Sichuan pepper saplings and offer training in forestry skills management. The villagers will start planting the Sichuan pepper saplings by the end of September and are contributing labour and 28% of the funds for the purchase of saplings. This component is funded by MRDF.

Maping Village

Maping Village's hamlets are located between 800 metres and 1800 metres above sea level in the remote mountainous area of Yongli Township, where the Dadu River can be seen from one of the highest hamlets in the village. The villagers often walk four to five hours to the nearest market. There are over 300 villagers, with Yi minorities and Han nationals living in the seven hamlets of this village. Some of the younger villagers, in an attempt to find better work prospects, have left the village to find labour work in nearby towns. However, only a few succeed in finding a better situation outside the village and some go back to the village. Maping Village's population is therefore ageing, the average age in the village is 46.6 years old. As mentioned in DORS' last newsletter, a baseline study was conducted in the village using a wide range of participatory and village focused activities. As a result, we now have a deeper understanding of the village and the villagers' expectations. The first projects that are being carried out are community and social forestry and Road construction.

Forestry

During the baseline study, DORS collected a range of useful information about forestry. Most of the villagers' cash income comes from forestry, mainly through selling of walnuts. However, due to the dry climate and lack of forestry management skills, the walnut harvest is not high. After project meeting discussions with the villagers, DORS together with participating stakeholders designed the forestry project plan. The first stage of the project consists of building water tanks for irrigation purposes. Since the start of the construction, a total of 60 tanks have been built. The remaining tanks are set to be completed towards the end of October, in time for the last rainfalls of this season.

After the construction of the tanks, DORS will carry out forestry training in management and technical skills for the villagers, and will work together with villagers to develop a strategy for saplings choice and management so that in the future they reap more benefits from the sales of their produce.

Road Construction

At the request of the villagers, DORS has liaised with the different departments at township and county level, so that the road construction project would receive support from different departments. The villagers are providing labour, various government departments are providing necessary materials. DORS has so far provided an air compresser and air drilling machine, funds to buy fuel for the machines, explosives and tools for the villagers. The road will be ten kilometers in length, linking Maping Village to the closest road and thus giving villagers greater access to markets.

DORS news and information

DORS has moved its field office location. Our new address is Neng Yuan Ban, Hanyuan County 625300, Sichuan Province, P. R China.

DORS conducted its second Strategic Planning Meeting in August. Please let us know if you would like a copy of the meeting notes.

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